For over 100 years, Massachusetts Maritime Academy has been preparing women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation's finest co-ed maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. As a member of the cadet corps you will live, study, sail, work and play in an atmosphere that encourages you to be your best.
Based on rising community prevalence of the virus and recently expressed concerns by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s office, dormitories will be limited to single occupancy rooms. Students who have the least flexibility to accomplish their degree program off-campus are invited back to campus.
Housing priority will be awarded to:
- All freshman;
- 1/c and 2/c Marine Transportation, Marine Engineering, Energy Systems Engineering, and Facilities Engineering majors, who live distant from our campus; and
- Select cadre. (These cadets will be notified separately by the Commandant of Cadets.)
On 13 March 2020, Admiral McDonald announced that all on campus classes would be suspended for the week of March 16 – 20, with the expectation that the Academy would move to a predominantly online/distance learning format beginning Monday 23 March. It was known at that time that some coursework would still need to be accomplished on campus and, in these limited instances, the Academy would conduct small student group work to occur on campus at some point before the end of June.
Also included in that letter was the list of our priorities during these challenging times:
- To keep our cadets, faculty and staff - and by extension, their families - safe
- To keep the Academy from becoming a mass-transmission center
- To find a path to get our 1/C cadets to degree completion in time for Commencement
- To minimize the academic disruption for the 2/C, 3/C and 4/C cadets
These priorities have not changed since they were first established in March. We were successful with getting 1/C cadets to degree completion last June and we continue by making the same commitment to the newest 1/C cadets, the Class of 2021, and all of our underclass cadets.
To that end, Admiral McDonald established the Restart Task Force in May 2020 with each of the six individual actions teams meeting at least weekly. Each action team had a very specific area of responsibility. The entire task force met bi-weekly to choreograph the action teams’ initiatives and resolve conflict between proposed plans generated by the teams. The four areas of support, Finance, Medical, Operations and IT were utilized by each action team. The following report is the Plan as established by each of the six action teams.
We are excited to confirm the delivery of our entire academic program this fall—across all majors. At Massachusetts Maritime Academy, direct faculty/student engagement is the heart of who we are as a learning community, and while the pandemic disrupted this past spring, we return this fall reinvigorated and eager to deliver our academic program. In an effort to quell the spread of the virus and keep our students and faculty safe, we have modified our course delivery methods to reduce numbers on campus and in our classrooms at any one time. As a result, roughly one-third of our courses will be delivered in-person; another third of our courses will occur in a hybrid fashion, and the final third will take place online.
Fall Residential Life
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a leadership laboratory that cultivates a transition from followship to leadership during four years of residence at the Academy. This leadership training in residence is a great benefit to the students of the Academy in preparing them for the workplace. After careful consideration of many factors, including the most up to date COVID-19 health guidelines and the Commonwealth’s reopening plans, specific logistics and medical protocols will be implemented this fall to maintain the integrity of the Regiment of Cadets while minimizing the risk to all members of the Academy community.
Action Team 3 Workforce Planning, comprised of each collective bargaining unit’s leadership and Human Resources, discussed the reports of other Action Teams. The outcome of Action Team 3 influenced and contributed to the overall Plan as the Academy prepares to resume campus operations and welcome cadets back to campus for the 2020/21 academic year. Utilizing guidance available from state and federal health organizations, and in conjunction with the Academy medical team, the Reopening Taskforce has recommended a safe approach to this endeavor. The plan requires that mandated safety standards be maintained (to include self-certification of one’s health), personal protective equipment be worn, social distancing maintained, robust sanitization schedules established and enforced, safe pedestrian traffic patterns, and training to ensure an understanding of the importance of the aforementioned, and more.
Undergraduate Summer Catch Up
When students departed campus in March, the Academy had completed only 2 weeks of the spring semester. Professors quickly moved courses online after one week of preparation. Many faculty were able to convert their labs to “dry labs”, where students completed lab assignments online and ultimately fulfilled all course requirements. Unfortunately, however, many courses in Marine Transportation and Engineering could not be completed online. In keeping with one of Admiral McDonald’s four original priorities, which was to ensure seniors could graduate in June, the Academy constructed a June Return program, where those needing assessments in order to graduate, returned to campus. Prior to their return, Health Services established detailed medical protocols for each assessment.
The Registrar’s Office created a complex schedule where those soon-to-be returning seniors were organized by cohort in less-than 6 person groups. Operations ensured that traffic patterns were established and clearly marked. As each day began, students completed a daily “Health Checker,” donned PPE and regularly used hand sanitizer throughout the day. Faculty worked carefully and diligently to ensure that each student followed the medical protocols while completing the assessments. During the last week of June, MMA administered the USCG licensed exam for approximately 150 licensed students in various places throughout our campus. Finally, during the weekend on June 26th through the 28th, 482 members of the Class of 2020 participated in one of seven in person “drive –in” graduation ceremonies.
To continue with the offering of labs and assessments to the remaining student population, the Academy established a spring catch-up during the month of July for underclass students with remaining assessments. The Registrar’s Office invited each student to return, offering them assigned times based on their needed assessments. Prior to the return, students submitted “Campus Waiver” forms and responded to a daily “Health Checker.” Once cleared by Health Services, students received their lab assignment and guidance documents on required protective equipment, traffic patterns, and social distancing on campus.
Sea Term, Experiential Learning, and Spring Term
The Academy is committed to a “Learn-Do-Learn” model, which features hands-on learning as a key part of our curriculum. Based on the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis, we are concerned about scheduling Sea Term, experiential learning and co-operative education during the winter months. In addition to Sea Term’s 42 day underway period aboard Training Ship Kennedy with 600+ faculty and students aboard, we also travel with students for experiential learning and place students in co-ops in various international and domestic locations.
Due to the naturally tight confines of any shipboard environment and risks associated with travel, the Academy is considering swapping our typical Winter Term with Spring Term. We hope that by delaying the hands-on learning components of our program that a treatment or vaccine will become available allowing us to proceed with our experiential learning opportunities in the safest way possible. In addition to the logistics and concerns for a January 2021 start for the spring semester, the following programs will also be impacted:
- Sea Term
- Co-operative Education
- Experiential Learning
- Commercial Shipping
A draft academic calendar has been submitted to the Academy’s All University Committee for consideration. A final decision will be made on or about 15 September 2020.